Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023

In Facebook’s ‘virtual universe’ opinion substitutes for fact

In Facebook’s ‘virtual universe’ opinion substitutes for fact

Facebook likes to present its fact-checkers as impartial arbiters of squeaky-clean truth. The reality, however, shows they are no more bound by the constraints of certainty and infallibility than the users they monitor.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder, chairman and CEO of Meta, which he originally founded as Facebook, adores facts. He adores facts so much that he has employed a veritable army of workers who pour over millions of posts in a moral battle against those who would defile facts. Yet as more people are discovering, not all facts are created equal in the fever swamp known as social media, where Meta is a major monster to contend with.

Just ask veteran journalist John Stossel, whose lawsuit against the platform for defamation has revealed some inconvenient truths that Facebook would rather fact-checkers ignore.

On his now-extinct Facebook page, Stossel posted a short video that made mincemeat of the left’s sacred cow known as ‘Climate Change,’ claiming that California’s outbreak of wildfires was more symptomatic of poor forest management than a melting planet. One can almost hear Greta Thunberg, the teen climate activist shriek, “How dare you!”

What happened next is an all-too familiar scenario for millions of Meta’s social network users, and arguably more so for those whose political views are more in line with Fox News, for example, than CNN and MSNBC. The message came attached with a warning, courtesy of the fact-checking group Science Feedback, which stated: “Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.”

Not only do such annoying tags cause the author to lose credibility in the eyes of the audience (and sometimes deservedly so, by the way), but the post will be effectively consigned to the memory hole. In Stossel’s case, the Lords of Factoids committed a cardinal sin, accusing him of uttering something he never did. So instead of bowing to the findings of the pedantic fact-checkers, those Keebler-esque elves who carry out their backroom duties with more secrecy than a papal conclave, Stossel filed charges against Facebook for defamation. What resulted was a modern-day version of David versus Goliath, where the Big Tech’s legal team was forced to concede to something so damning that it should put the practice of fact-checking to bed once and for all. Plot spoiler: It won’t.

In explaining its actions against Stossel, lawyers for Meta stated – I’m guessing in very hushed tones – that the warning labels affixed by Facebook “are neither false nor defamatory; to the contrary, they constitute protected opinion.” Yes, you read that right. Facebook is legally entitled to its opinion when judging the opinion of its customers! In other words, these so-called fact-checkers are merely referring to their own political predilections i.e. opinions when casting judgment upon the opinions of Facebook users. So it’s probably fair to say that the image of Facebook fact-checkers all hunched over and squinting at digital Almanacs and Britannica encyclopedias all day in Zuckerberg’s sweatshops is an illusory one.

Nevertheless, in defense of such a convoluted argument, the lawyers, with no loss of irony, point to Section 230 of the US Communications Act, which provides immunity for social media platforms with respect to third-party content.

Yet Section 230 specifically works to nullify the platform’s need for fact-checkers in the first place because – unlike publishers that are liable for the content that appears on their websites – Facebook was meant to be a clean slate, the tabula rasa, as it were, where users are free to publish whatever they want so long as it does not qualify as hate speech, or language that may result in bodily harm. But as Virginia Slims once remarked, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Today, as more than one Congressional hearing could attest to, Facebook and other social media platforms have taken it upon themselves to weed out their backyards, so to speak, of the ‘undesirables.’ People like Michael Shellenberger, the author of ‘Apocalypse Never,’ which provides a convincing argument that “Humans are not causing a ‘sixth mass extinction.’” Whether one believes such an argument to be true or not is a moot point; the fact is, it is a claim embraced by a large contingency of academics, and as such should be made readily available to the public. Yet Facebook and its merry band of fact-destroyers, armed, apparently, with nothing more than their “opinions,” moved to censor Shellenberger for the crime of wrong thought.

But nowhere was Facebook’s arrogance and universal power more revealing than when it moved to block then-president Donald Trump after the protests that erupted at the Capitol building on January 6.

“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Mark Zuckerberg, Supreme King of Fact Kingdom, pronounced on his page, to the sound of trumpet blasts. “Therefore, we are extending the block … for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

In a day and age when leaders have come to rely on social media to interact with their constituents, the decision to block the president of the United States at this critical juncture in American history was every bit as dangerous as it was unprecedented. Let’s face it: all things considered, the American voters have a better chance of buying ice cream in hell than witnessing any Big Tech company banning President Joe Biden, even slapping him with a warning, and irrespective of “the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service.”

It all really starts to come together, or fall apart, depending on how you look at it, when it is realized that the Facebook fact-checkers fall under the umbrella of the Poynter Institute, which has a long history of supporting and identifying with left-wing causes, not least of all taking sides against former Republican president Donald Trump. It also was responsible for creating a “blacklist” of 515 “unreliable news websites,” which was top-heavy with prominent conservative publications, like the Washington Examiner, the Daily Caller, PJ Media, and The Blaze, among others. Only after receiving heated backlash did Poynter make the decision to scrap the list.

With these sorts of very predictable Facebook ‘friends,’ it’s no wonder that so many users have been ‘disappeared’ from the site, down the Orwellian memory hole and into oblivion. Opinion should never substitute for fact, yet that appears to be the sole basis for censoring millions of Meta users today. Facebook should let users use their own better judgment to determine what is “misleading” and what is not. That is certainly the less risky alternative than having its customers come to the conclusion that their own personal opinions are not as valuable as those of the Facebook ‘fact’ checkers.


Related Articles

Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
U.S. charges FTX's Bankman-Fried with paying $40 million bribe
Fallen 'Crypto King' Who Owes Millions to Investors Was Kidnapped and Tortured
Regulators blame social media for SVB's rapid collapse: 'Complete game changer'
AOC explains why she opposes banning TikTok
UK: Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister in Scotland
In a dramatic U-turn against His Government: Judicial Reform Legislation Must Be Halted, Says Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant
Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel Corporation, died at 94
Powell: Silicon Valley Bank was an 'outlier'
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
NYPD is setting up barricades outside Manhattan Criminal Court ahead of Trump arrest.
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman tours potential migrant housing in Rwanda as asylum deal remains mired in legal challenges
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
Jeremy Hunt insists his Budget will get young parents and over-50s back into work
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
TRUMP: "Standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III."
Mexican President Claims Mexico is Safer than the U.S.
A brief banking situation report
Lady bites police officer and gets instantly reaction
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Silicon Valley Bank exec was Lehman Brothers CFO
In a potential last-ditch effort, HSBC is considering a rescue deal to save Silicon Valley Bank UK from insolvency
BBC Director General, Tim Davie, has apologized, but not resigned, yet, following the disruption of sports programmes over the weekend
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
City officials in Berlin announced on Thursday that all swimmers at public pools will soon be allowed to swim topless
Fitness scam
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Senator Tom Cotton: If the Mexican Government Won’t Stop Cartels from Killing Americans, Then U.S. Government Should
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Is Gold the Ultimate Safe Haven Asset in Times of Uncertainty?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Don Lemon, a CNN anchor, has provided a list of five areas that he believes the black community needs to address.
Hello. Here is our news digest from London.
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
Givenchy Store in New York Robbed of $50,000 in Merchandise
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Former U.S. President Carter will spend his remaining time at home and receive hospice care instead of medication
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History